"Spider-Man: Homecoming" Movie Review

I have to start this by agreeing with many others on the fact that this is probably the best depiction of Spider-Man we've seen on film. Most comparable to the Ultimate Spider-Man comics line, this movie really understands the character like no one else has. While Spider-Man has been tried twice before, they seemed to have a very troubled Batman-like vibe to them. This one takes an all together different approach to the character. The best way to describe it in comparison is, this time around it's fun. Most comparable to a John Hughes film like Sixteen Candles or Breakfast Club, this movie is a perfect blend of teen-angst, coming of age comedy & how to be a superhero crash course. That's one of the real great things, among many, to me about this movie. The other movies all had the guy gets bit by spider, becomes super-hero, & is all the sudden master of his powers. Not here. The title of the second volume of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics is Learning Curve, & that's basically what this is. This is a normal person, a 15 yr. old kid at that, getting super-powers, wanting to be a hero, & trying to figure out how on the fly. Rather hysterically I might add. Tom Holland owned the part of Spider-Man. He delivered perfectly with all the constant nervous jokes that have become a staple of Spider-Man throughout the comics. Parker was portrayed as the nerdy kid, as it should be. Next up, I don't care if they say he's Ned, Jacob Batalon was playing Ganke. Ganke is a different Spider-Man's best friend in the comics, & if you want to know what his character is like, watch this movie. It's Ned, & he steals the show from the other students that attend Peter's high school. Robert Downey's Jr. popped in as Iron Man & I say popped in because as many trailers as they've had for this thing, you've probably seen 85% of his part in this. As usual though RBJ dazzles while he's on screen. He's born to play Tony Stark. Marisa Tomei was great as hot Aunt May. Michael Keaton however, was amazing as the main villain Vulture. He had a real different approach to playing a villain than we're used to seeing in comic book films. It had a realism behind it that really let you understand his character & motives. As you probably noticed I said main villain. There are multiple big Spidey villains in this Spider-Man. Showing mainly that if you do it right, & there is a reason for these villains to be together in the same film, it can work. As opposed to the only thing in common being having powers, & the same hero as an enemy. All in all, if you haven't realized already, I loved this movie. I wouldn't just suggest it to fans of comic book movies, but also to fans of movies all together. If you want to go to a theater & have a lot of fun this movie is for you. Sony needs to take this as a realization they really need Marvel on this one. I really hope more studios take a page out of this book & see what could happen if they take some time to join forces on some things. The results could be phenomenal. Anyway, let us know what you think of this first outing of the friendly neighborhood wall crawler in the MCU down in the comments, like, & share. Check out the video review here.

"Cars 3" Movie Review

Everything starts off with LOU, the opening cartoon. I'm really liking Disney & Pixar's efforts to bring back the opening short. I didn't really know what to expect from this, even with the clip that was released earlier in the week. About a Lost & Found "monster" helping out some children from the school bully, I was blown away by this short. It did what Pixar does best, but in about 5 minutes. It had me laughing throughout, & then out of nowhere, BAM, the feels. It goes from hysterical to make you cry before you even realize it's happened. Great short. Then we get to the main event, Cars 3. This movie takes the focus all back where it should be, racing. The third entry in the Cars franchise features an aging Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) dealing with the younger, faster, up & coming racers led by Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Then after a crippling injury, has to mount a comeback with some help along the way from another newcomer in the form of Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo). All the old pals from Radiator Springs pop in too, but definitely as supporting cast. I thought this was a really good sequel. I loved the original Cars. It's one of my favorite Pixar films. On the flipside, Cars 2 totally missed the mark for me. So it was refreshing to be able to say with this one they definitely redeemed themselves. Mainly because, as I said earlier, this one brings the focus back to racing & away from the  "look at these cars doing people stuff". Though it's not as good as the first, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loved the first outing. I enjoyed it all the way through. There's a twist at the end that almost didn't really do it for me, but I felt they smoothed it out pretty well all in all by the end. It had some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout. Especially the whole demolition derby scene shown in the trailer. It also has some emotion. A lot of which, much like the first, comes from a sense of nostalgia. The rest from the various relationships developed throughout the course. They also went ahead & realized Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) might be best in small doses. It's funny I went in expecting a version of Days of Thunder, & instead I got a version of a Rocky movie. That's what this really felt like if I had to compare it to anything. I even got that vibe from some of the training montage. I can't end this without mentioning the actual animation. Pixar has come so far, this movie looks amazing. It has a blend of realism with cartoon elements on a level I've never seen. Some of the backgrounds in this film are absolutely  beautiful. Overall, as a sequel, I liked this, I will be adding it next to my copy of the original Cars. Seen the movie? We want to know what you think as well. Let us know in the comments, like, & share.  


"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" Movie Review

I have to start this off by saying this was the part 4 we deserved. It builds on the events of the first three parts & perfectly executes spinning them in a new direction with the two new stars. Not only that, it perfectly blends the feel of all three films. Coming off superbly balanced between the seriousness of a pirate film, the comedy of a Disney film, & the supernatural elements these films are known for, this installment seems much more like the first & second films. Breaking it down you've got three major stories going, all revolving around recovering the Trident of Poseidon. (Obviously needing Jack's magical compass, form previous films as always.) First, you get introduced to Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), who must find the Trident to save his father Will, whom we previously left to eternally captain "The Flying Dutchmen". Along the way he runs into Carina Smyth (Kaya Scoderlario), an educated woman, key to obtaining his goal. These two might even eventually grow to rival Turner & Elizabeth Swan as they have great chemistry. Then, you've got Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), former pirate killer, hunting down the always entertaining, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), not to mention continuing his pirate killing mission, for leaving him & his crew trapped in ghostly form in his early years. Finally, you've got Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), in his original best form, masterfully played, trying to cling onto his fleet & his life of piracy &  that wouldn't be complete without Scarfield (David Wenham) trying to end piracy & take the seas for the Royal Navy in the name of "Crown & Country". I really enjoyed this movie. I would suggest it to any fans of the first three films. This puts it everything back on track, & I can't wait for the next one. I really want to know though, what everyone else thinks? Let us know in the comments after you check out Dead Men Tell No Tales. I really want to know if you want more of these or this was the nail in the coffin for you? Don't forget to also like, share, & if you want to see my immediate thoughts on this movie, dressed as a pirate click here


The "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1-2" Double Feature Event Movie Review

I must say to start this off that this may have been the most enjoyable experience I've ever had in a movie theatre. AMC was ready for Guardians. The double feature included a poster, "backstage pass", & two buttons. A not so shabby amount of "swag" to make the movie seem like more of an event. Also always a plus the large cups & large popcorns were themed for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, something that was left out for Beauty & the Beast's Event. Yours truly even nabbed a prize in a comic book Guardians of the Galaxy themed trivia contest during the intermission between Vol 1 & Vol 2. An answer one letter shy of my own name, J'son, won me a choice of T-shirt or Soundtrack. (Of course I went with the Soundtrack) The most impressive thing though, as with the last event we attended, was the fans. You can feel the electricity in the air & it's like everyone knows they're amongst friends almost. It's an awesome experience. Now the movies at hand:  


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1

The first time I saw this movie I fell in love with it. Every single part of it. It not only jumped to be one of my top 5 Marvel films, it became one of my favorite Sci-fi films as well. (Right under Star Wars of course, probably over the prequels though.) First of all, James Gunn is the true star of this movie.  He having written & directed, this movie is like a "sandbox" video game is has everything in it. Drama, Comedy, Sci-fi, Action/Adventure. Hell, there's so much great music you could probably almost call it a musical too. You would think that would be too much to be crammed into one film, but it's blended together perfectly. Then, there's the cast. If someone was ever born to play a part, Chris Pratt was born to play Star Lord. Star Lord is the human-born taking the part of leader for this group of miscreants. Zoe Saldana plays Gamora, one of Avengers behind-the-curtains baddie Thanos's daughters. Vin Diesel finds as many ways as possible to emote the words "I am Groot" as the giant one-phrased tree creature Groot, & Bradley Cooper doesn't "call in" his amazingly entertaining voiceover as Rocket Racoon. Dave Bautista was the wildcard coming in for me though. Being a wrestler turned actor doesn't have a successful track record despite The Rock. However, he was used to perfection in this, & gave a very entertaining performance. Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser, though he could have used a littlemore backstory, was one of the more successfully pulled off villains in the Marvel universe as really coming off menacing. He was also convinced he was doing something he was supposed to be doing, which always tops your I'm in it for money, power, or destruction type villains. There were many characters introduced as well.  There's a pirate like character that took in Star Lord as a boy when his mom died Yondu (Michael Rooker), Gamora's ready to kill her sister sibling Nebula (Karen Gillan), Korath (Djimon Hounsou) ally of Ronan, Nova corps member Rhoman Day (John C. Reilly), Nova Prime (Glenn Close) & collector of all things in the galaxy rare, The Collector (Benicio Del Toro). I've heard older people say that this is how they felt when they came out of Star Wars for the first time, & that totally makes since I've never seen anything quite like this. The ending point was a little lack-luster, but those have been just been hit or miss thus far in the Marvel universe. I would suggest this movie to anyone & be very surprised if they did not enjoy it. I just have to add as well though, that the use of 3D in this movie is amazing. I love 3D, I even have a 3D television. I'm not in it for the things popping out of the screen though, I'm in it for the depth it adds. Almost like looking through a giant window. Now for those who have not seen the first, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1, the following will most likely have Spoilers due to it being about the sequel.



Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Let me start this off with this is how this movie is supposed to be seen, directly after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1. These movies flow together seamlessly, even closing off plot points introduced in the first such as the identity of Star Lord's father, the sisterly feud of Gamora & Nebula, & the evolution of the newest addition to the cutest character ever created club, Baby Groot. This movie seemed to never take itself seriously as I'm not quite sure I've laughed out loud that much in a theater in a long time. Yet, in it's few somber moments it would immediately shift & bring you to tears. James Gunn is back to write & direct (hopefully forever), as well as the main team plus Yondu. Kurt Russell joins the fray as Star Lord's father along with the empathic Mantis (Pom Kementieff). Additional appearances include Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Taserface (Chris Sullivan), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), & Stakar Ogord ( Sylvester Stallone) along with a slew of surprises. This movie definitely holds its own with it's predecessor, as I enjoyed every second of it. The developing relationships between the characters are phenomenal. We get a lot more Rocket Raccoon this time too. Which is awesome as he's one of my favorite parts of the first. Then there's the "unspoken thing" between Star Lord & Gamora on it's way to becoming bigger than Sam & Diane from Cheers fame. The soundtrack was on point as well, like most of the movie feeling like a natural transgression from the first. They even nailed the ending, along with so many after credit scenes I lost count. I couldn't have asked for more from this film & Vol. 3 couldn't arrive fast enough. Definitely go see this movie in the theater while it is in 3D. It is worth it, transport yourself to another galaxy.


Disneynature's Born In China Movie Review

This is my first Disneynature experience in a theater. In, fact If I'm being truly honest I want to say the only other one I've ever seen is Disneynature's Oceans. After this I know what I will be doing every Earth Day from now on though. This was incredible. I feel like I just took a trip to see a China that I never knew existed. Not the giant cities that we're use to seeing, or the Great Wall either. Instead, I just spent the last 1 hr. & 16 min. surrounded by the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. Forgive me if I wind up over-using the word beautiful in this review, but that's the only way to describe this film & do it justice. I've never seen clarity like this. There were times I felt like I could jump right through the screen, & feel the animals' fur. I was so amazed there were times I couldn't help but wonder how this feat was accomplished at all. Which I got a glimpse into during the credits. Just that small look made this feat look even more overwhelming. They give us a very intimate look into the family lives & struggles of three families. An adorable panda family that further cements the notion in my mind that pandas are possibly the cutest animals on the planet. Then, a family of golden monkeys. Or more particularly, the family life of a certain mischievous little growing monkey finding his place in life. Finally, probably one of the most stunning creatures I've ever seen, a snow leopard trying to provide for her two cubs. These animals stories were very intriguing, much to my surprise. The picture was so clear & precise you could really get a sense of emotion from these animals. Which helped the rather entertaining narration provided by John Krasinski (The Office, 13 Hours). Director Lu Chuan, usually known in China for more action based material, seemed right at home in a genre far outside all the action he's used to. Overall, I was very impressed. This was a very enjoyable film, that is definitely best enjoyed on a big screen. If you want to not only see, but also be entertained by some cute creatures in one of the most beautiful environments I've ever seen on film, this is for you. Go see it by Sunday though. As long as you see it on opening weekend, you're actually helping pandas & snow leopards. Entertainment & a good cause. So that's my thoughts on Born In China. Let us know what you thought & like & share. TTFN. See ya real soon.

Beauty & the Beast (2017) Movie Review w/ "Be Our Guest Fan Event"

Just got out of the Beauty & the Beast "Be our Guest Fan Event" first release of the brand new live action movie. I had never been to a "Fan Event" so I wasn't sure what to expect except an inflated ticket price. However, it was worth it just to feel the energy in the room as the rest of the audience sat & chattered about all things Disney in anticipation. For that matter, my little girl was not the only person to come in full costume.



I was a little let down that the AMC Imax we went to didn't have themed cups or popcorn buckets. Along with the fact that our particular theatre wasn't showing the fan event in 3D. It did provide a few attendee only items though. In the form of a lanyard style event pass with the date & a fold up cube style Beast. The lanyard was a nice touch as it felt as a sort of backstage pass. While the Beast cube figure was....  Well, a Beast cube figure. There were also two scenes that played before the movie. These two were only for the event. We got the Ariana Grande - John Legend video for their version of "Beauty & the Beast". Which I could've done without. Then we got a nice little behind the scenes with the composers that was actually a real treat. You could really see the passion they had for wanting to make this one bigger than what was already perfect. 


Now to the review of the actual movie. I had a few worries going in from the previews. First, was Emma Watson's ability to sing. I had noticed in the previews the songs had been altered to suit that she couldn't belt it out like her predecessor. Second, the CGI designs.  I wasn't fond of the first images of the various furniture, it seemed basic & lacking life. I was also concerned with the ability to pull off the Beast for the whole duration. Lastly, was the music in general. The more I had watched the previews I was starting to think this cast would have made a better non-musical film.

All of those worries have been put to rest. First of all, I must say I was very wrong about the non-musical. The old songs felt as new as they could considering you've heard the perfect versions already. While the new song additions had all the passion of the originals, even if they weren't as memorable. Emma Watson sang, & though it wasn't Paige O'Hara level, it was quite good & took nothing away from this fantastic retelling. The CGI is also not perfect, there are a few times you can notice the Beast is animated. However, they are few & far between when you take into consideration how long he is present throughout. These being the only the only actual negatives they were easy to look past.

On the upside, in the most curious casting decision for me by far, Luke Evans shined as Gaston. Emma Watson made you fall in love with Belle all over again. To Dan Stevens & all the creators involved with bringing the Beast to life, I must commend them on their near perfect quality. Not quite on the level of Jungle Book's CGI, but very impressive nonetheless for an emotional leading role. Most of all, the all-star supporting cast was amazing from the believable cadre of furniture, to Belle's father, to LeFou all contributed to making this bigger & more magical than its animated version.

Overall, that's the best thing I can say about this movie. The fact that they set out to make it bigger & better, & they actually achieved that. They managed to top a story that had already been told to perfection. I must give this movie a 10 out of 10 just due to that fact. We're now 3 for 4 on these live-action Disney remakes in my book, & if they keep up like this count me onboard for the ride. Disney really made this one a tale as old as time.